As I write this, it’s hard for those of us in the upper Midwest to think about fly season. It just snowed, temperatures are more than 20 degrees below normal and there’s more snow in the extended forecast. However, Mother Nature will eventually get her act together and fly season will begin. As you prepare for it, the supplement that you choose makes a difference, not only for controlling flies, but also for its effect on cattle performance.
Timing is everything
Flies can be a pain, both literally and figuratively. But did you know they can cost you money, too? In particular, horn flies contribute to blood loss in cattle, which results in decreased cow performance (i.e., lower milk production) and lower weaning weight by a whopping 17 pounds per 100 horn flies, thereby greatly impacting profitability. On average, flies cost the cattle industry an astounding $800 million annually.
For a fly control program to truly be effective, timing is everything. The best way to combat flies is to use a feed-through fly control supplement before they are going to be a problem, usually 30 days before the last frost in the spring. From the map below, you can see that those down in the Gulf and southeastern states are already well into fly season. Those of us further north still have a month or so to prepare.
Feed-through fly control additives, like ClariFly®, Rabon® or Altosid®, work in the manure of treated cattle to break the lifecycle between the larvae and adult stages. Since horn flies only lay their eggs in fresh manure, it’s a great way to help control fly populations. It’s important to keep in mind that even though you’re feeding a fly control supplement, existing adult flies will not be controlled by the supplement and sometimes a knock-down treatment is required at the start of your feed-through supplement program.
The supplement matters
While the active ingredient is the main concern of a fly control program, the other nutrients included in it are just as important. During fly season, cows are nursing, breeding back and gestating, so nutrition plays a vital role. You need a program that not only keeps the fly population down, but measures up to the genetics of your cattle.
CRYSTALYX® Blueprint® with ClariFly supplements are the next generation of fly control supplements. All trace minerals are sourced from Bioplex® organic trace minerals, providing mineral supplementation in the same natural form as that found in plants. Bioplex organic trace minerals offer higher bioavailability than inorganic minerals, which give us the ability to supplement at a lower inclusion than inorganic sources while still optimizing animal performance.
You may be wondering, “How can a supplement with a lower guarantee on trace minerals be just as good or better than one with a higher guarantee?” It’s all in the source of the trace minerals. A great real-world example of “less is more” is laundry detergent. Your favorite brand probably has an “ultra” version and a regular version. They both get your work jeans clean, but with the ultra version, you use half as much. The same concept works in the case of Blueprint and Bioplex. Since Bioplex organic trace minerals are much more bioavailable than inorganic sources, we can use less and get the same results.
Producers have two options for their Blueprint with ClariFly program. CRYSTALYX Blueprint 20 AN with ClariFly is a great option for late summer and early fall. Added supplemental protein will help your cows get more out of the late season and mature pastures. CRYSTALYX Blueprint 6% Phos with ClariFly is ideal for cattle on green spring and summer pastures. This mineral supplement complements young forage and provides supplemental phosphorus, a nutrient that is commonly deficient in grazing cattle.
Out-of-control fly populations cost you money. Stay on top of the flies this season with CRYSTALYX brand supplements with ClariFly and give your cows the nutrition they deserve with Blueprint. It’s a winning combination that keeps your cattle on top of their game and performing to their genetic potential.
Rabon® is a registered trademark of Bayer Animal Health, Shawnee Mission, Kansas.
Altosid® and ClariFly® are registered trademarks of Wellmark International, Schaumburg, Illinois.
Blueprint® and Bioplex® are registered trademarks of Alltech.